ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Clinton-Massie educators are asking themselves about the value and purpose of homework, and are planning to sketch out a district-wide position — but not a rule dictating how all teachers must approach homework.
Each building has already met on the topic, and on Monday administrators and the superintendent and his assistant had their first meeting on the subject.
Superintendent Matt Baker said he hears a lot of concerns over homework from the public, and he believes the district needs to create a view or philosophy of homework.
“Not necessarily [indicating] should a teacher give it or not, but how valuable is it? What’s the rigor of it; what’s its purpose; and then how much should it count for a grade for that semester or quarter?” said Baker during Monday’s board of education session.
The conversation on homework has several facets. One aspect is the range of ways teachers handle homework — some teachers give a lot, others don’t give any; some teachers accord it a key part in the final grade, while others don’t give any credit for homework, said board member Andy Avery.
Another factor coming into play is a book titled “Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs” by Cathy Vatterott that’s being read in the district in connection with the homework discussion.
Avery, who’s on the district’s Communication, Curriculum and Technology Committee, said that not turning in homework assignments is what accounts for the F grade of the majority of C-M students currently failing.
A parent survey regarding homework will be going out through the district’s website and Facebook page, said Baker.
Eileen Brady attended the Monday meeting and told the board, “There’s busy work and there’s homework.”
She also said there are a lot of after-school group projects that are assigned. Drawbacks to that kind of homework include parents transporting children in a large geographic district, plus the group projects often end up being more of a solo project done by one student, she said.
In an effort to help parents make decisions about their children’s eating habits while at school, especially with respect to food allergies, Clinton-Massie has begun posting the ingredients of school-provided entrees and side dishes.
Working with a parents group concerned about students’ food allergies and school food, district leaders have designated one elementary cafeteria table as peanut- and tree-nut free for students with the allergy.
In addition, Baker reported, “We’ve eliminated one of the [food] products that was a concern in the elementary.” Additional signs have been placed in the elementary, and Baker is working with the parents group to come up with a new food allergy policy for the district.
“Right now we have a very vague, minimal policy that meets the law of ODE [Ohio Department of Education] requirements, but it needs to be much more detailed to keep our kids safe,” Baker said.
The two Clinton-Massie High School students who made bomb threats toward the school in September are both out for the remainder of the year and both have withdrawn from the school, said High School Principal Barrett Swope.
Darrell Petrey and Mark Hackney with We Help Others proposed that school groups or the district consider utilizing their enterprise for fundraising.
They convert ordinary household items such as DVDs, toys, books, video games and electronics into cash. Students would gather certain items, and We Help Others would market and sell them. Petrey said the business has done similar things for churches and individuals.
Avery said he finds the whole thing intriguing, adding that traditional fundraising methods have resulted in his freezer being loaded with cookie dough and his father having numerous magazine subscriptions.
If the district is interested, Petrey recommended that a person there be made the point of contact for We Help Others to work with.
Kelley Felder, who is doing an internship as part of a doctoral program and also is a math teacher at the high school, gave a presentation on the high school’s math goal this year — to improve proficiency in state test scores by at least 15 percent by the end of the school year.
And Baker commended high school students and Service Learning Class members Caleb Carter, A.J. Perkins, Zack Dillow, Kyle Johnson and Clint Hale for their work renovating the annex courtyard.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.
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